Things aren’t going well for me this week. Twice already, I’ve undertaken projects that have turned into epic failures. Now I’m afraid to do anything, because I don’t know if it will be a third-time’s-a-charm thing, or a three-strikes-and-you’re-out thing.
The first project I tried was my fingernails. Don’t laugh, and don’t judge. I’m trying to save money, because I really, really like to have pretty hands. After all, I have to look at them all day while I type, and it makes me happy when they look nice. But the last time I went to the salon, it cost forty bucks!
So I decided to Google some videos about doing your own gel nails at home. Most videos suggested kits that require an ultraviolet light, which could cause cancer, so I kept looking until I found a video that used gel polish without the light.
This turned into a half-day project, as I clicked on one You-Tube video after another after another. And of course the women presenting these how-to videos were all adorable little twenty-somethings. By the time I’d finished, I felt like an expert.
I went to Wal-Mart and found the gel base, along with some trendy fall colors and a topcoat. Unfortunately, and this is where my epic fail begins, the trendy fall colors I chose were pumpkin and squash.
Hey. They looked pretty in the bottle. So, in honor of the cute little video-diva instructors who all had what they called “accent colors”, I decided to paint my nails pumpkin, with two accent nails in squash. The result, I am sad to say, was the gosh-awful-ugliest set of nails I have ever seen in my life, y’all. Seriously. Orange and yellow. What was I thinking?
I showed Superman. He looked at my hands, then at me, then back at my hands, then back at me. The poor man was speechless. Finally, after what appeared to be some serious prayer and contemplation, he said, “They’re . . . unique. Creative. Just like you.”
Just one of the many reasons I married him.
The second epic fail came in the form of the organic, salt-free soup I worked on all day.
I’m not kidding.
All. Stinkin’. Day.
Now, just in case you’ve never tried this before, let me save you some time. There is nothing in this world that will ever truly replace salt in a recipe. You can try. You can even get used to the taste of stuff, without it. But if you’re trying to make a soup taste salty without actually using salt, it ain’t gonna happen.
All day I chopped and diced and boiled and tasted and chopped and diced and boiled and tasted. Each time I tasted, it just seemed like it needed something. So I kept adding more and more stuff, and the more stuff I added, the worse it got until, by the time Superman got home from work, I had a huge pot of the worst stuff I’ve ever tasted.
He sampled it. “Not bad,” he said. “It just needs a little salt.
For dinner that night, I made pork chops.
After dinner, while I was cleaning the kitchen, I looked at that enormous pot of expensive, organic veggies. I hated to throw it away. That’s when I had an epiphany: instead of trying to make it salty, what if I made it creamy?
I added some heavy cream, and you know what? It wasn’t bad. It was actually pretty good. And since it was chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants and lots of other words I can’t pronounce, I count it as a win.
Back to my nails. I was still walking around with ugly fingers, and I didn’t have the energy to start completely over. That night I pulled out my old standard pink polish, and painted on top of the orange and yellow. And the result was so amazingly cool, I can’t even begin to describe it here. The fall colors barely show through the thin coat of pink, creating just a hint of something unique and special. But it’s toned down dramatically from the loud yuck that was on my hands before. So I count my fingers a win, too.
It just goes to show, when everything in our lives goes kaput, sometimes we just need to step back for a minute, take a deep breath, and try a different approach. What we may consider an epic fail may just turn into something amazingly unique and clever. If we’d succeeded the first time, those new creations might never happen.
I think that’s what God must do with me. He tries and tries, and time and again, I’m still not perfectly fulfilling His purpose for my life. But He never gives up! No, sir. He steps back, gives me another chance, and through all the bumps and mistakes and heartaches, I know He’s creating something delicious and beautiful and one-of-a-kind.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28.